Google has asked the government to test next-gen Wifi in US cities

Hellen Wadman

Google is asking the government to let it test next-generation 6GHz WiFi in dozens of cities across the US, according to filings seen by Business Insider. The company wants to test the new technology in 17 states in total, and several cities within California. 6GHz WiFi will be a major […]

  • Google is asking the government to let it test next-generation 6GHz WiFi in dozens of cities across the US, according to filings seen by Business Insider.
  • The company wants to test the new technology in 17 states in total, and several cities within California.
  • 6GHz WiFi will be a major upgrade, but don’t expect it to arrive in devices for some time to come.
  • Are you a Google insider with more to share? Contact this reporter using encrypted email ([email protected]) or encrypted messaging apps Signal/Telegram (628-228-1836).
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In April, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open up a chunk of spectrum in the 6GHz band that would eventually usher in faster WiFi. 

Unsurprisingly, Google wants in on the action.

The company has requested government approval to test next-generation 6GHz WiFi in dozens of cities, according to Federal Communications Commission filings seen by Business Insider.

In a redacted version of a letter dated last Saturday, Google asks the FCC for “authorization to conduct radio experiments in and near the 6GHz band (5650 MHz – 7125 MHz).”

Google is requesting to test across 17 states in total: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Google wants to test in just one or two cities in each state — except in its home of California, of course, where it’s requesting to test in seven cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Google proposes to conduct experimental propagation testing in the 6GHz band to produce technical information relevant to the utility of these frequencies for providing reliable broadband connections,” the company wrote in the request.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

When the FCC voted to open up a section of the 6GHz band for unlicensed use, several of the big tech companies were supportive, but some voiced opposition. AT&T said at the time that the ruling opened up risks of interference with the existing infrastructure.

In its test proposal, Google appears to acknowledge some of these fears, promising its work will be conducted “without harmful interference to other authorized users.”

6Ghz WiFi would deliver faster speeds by more than doubling the available WiFi frequencies, but don’t expect those blazing-fast speeds to start arriving in devices until the end of the year at the earliest. Google has asked for 24 months to carry out its testing.

We don’t know the exact purpose for Google’s testing, but there are several reasons it will be interested. The company is already in the business of internet delivery. It has its own range of Nest home WiFi devices, while Access – a sister company that sits under its parent Alphabet – is focused on delivering ultra-high-speed Fiber internet to people’s homes. 

Plus, it has a range of devices such as smartphones and smart speakers that it will obviously want to work without a hitch, not to mention plans for plenty of future devices that could take advantage of the next-generation wireless standard.

Get the latest Google stock price here.

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